May 2014 Bar Bulletin
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May 2014 Bar Bulletin

Crowdfunding Bill Opens Investment Door to Small Business

By Kyle Hulten


On March 28, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a state crowdfunding bill. The bill was originally passed by the Washington House of Representatives in the middle of February, but the Senate's passage of the bill was a bit dramatic. It had to put the bill to a vote by the end of the day on March 7, and it wasn't certain the bill would be considered. The bill was originally introduced in the 2013 legislative session and didn't make it through either the House or the Senate.

But on the afternoon of March 7, the Senate passed an amended version of the House's bill with a few hours to spare. The House concurred in the Senate's amended version of the bill, which was then sent to Gov. Inslee.

The bill is notable for its bipartisan support. It passed the House by an 89-9 margin, passed the Senate by a 46-2 margin, and received unanimous concurrence in the House.

The Senate bill is largely similar to the crowdfunding bill passed by the House on February 13. But the Senate bill includes an amendment drafted by senators Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard) and Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) that makes a few crucial improvements.

Who Can Participate in Washington Crowdfunding?

Only companies that are organized and doing business in Washington can take advantage of the state crowdfunding legislation. Additionally, each investor must be a Washington resident at the time of purchase.

How Much Money Can Be Raised or Invested?

Companies can raise a maximum of $1 million during any 12-month period. Investors with annual income or net worth less than $100,000 can invest the greater of $2,000 or 5 percent of their annual income or net worth. Investors with annual income or net worth exceeding $100,000 can invest 10 percent of their annual income or net worth up to $100,000.

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